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Britain's Missing Spacecraft Found on Mars
Jan 22, 2015

Britain's infamous Beagle 2 spacecraft has been found on Mars 11 years after it went missing searching for extraterrestrial life. The images sent back by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that Beagle 2 landed safely but only partially deployed.

  • Beagle 2, part of the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission, had been due to land on Mars on 25 December 2003, but went missing on December 19, 2003.

  • Until now, nothing had been heard from it since then. But London's Royal Society scientific institution space experts said the tiny Mars lander has been found on the surface of the red planet.

  • The scientists now had good evidence that the spacecraft successfully landed on Mars on the date it was due but had only partially deployed.

  • This find shows that the entry, descent and landing sequence for Beagle 2 worked and the lander did successfully touch down on Mars.

  • Beagle 2, which measures less than 2 metres across was named after the ship Charles Darwin sailed when he formulated his theory of evolution.

  • It was built by British scientists for about 50 million pounds ($85 million).

  • The plan was for it to report back from the Mars' surface using instruments designed to help search for signs of life.

  • Beagle 2's legacy is its miniaturised technology, some of which is being provided for the ExoMars 2018 rover and being proposed for other future space missions.

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